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Recommendations for Making a Career Transition

By: Michelle Metzger, Human Resource Specialist

You may have decided that a career move is in order; perhaps you have your eyes set on a particular type of position, you’re leaving your employer after a long tenure, or maybe all you know is that you just want something different.  But how do you go about a successful career transition?  Here are some tips to implement in your new job search and some things to thoughtfully consider as you move forward.

Unrelated Position, Transferable Skills

You’re seeking to leave your present position for a job unlike those that you have held in the past; however, you have honed the skills necessary for your desired new career or obtained additional education.  Be sure to emphasize the new skills or newly acquired knowledge on your resume.  Clearly demonstrate how you have used new skills in either a volunteer position or another type of venue.  Utilize a carefully prepared cover letter explaining your new career interests and how your skills and/or education relate.  Use this opportunity to connect the dots for a recruiter as you do not have the advantage of directly related experience that other applicants may have.

Related Position, Higher Level

You’re ready for the next stage in your career, a step or two beyond your current position.  A higher level position has come available, but how do you successfully pursue it?  Request additional responsibility in your current position to demonstrate your capabilities.  Be sure to update your resume to include the additional accomplishments.  Utilize your network to connect in a professional way with the person in the new company who is making the hiring decision.  If the open position is in your present company, respectfully communicate your interest to your current manager and the hiring manager.

New Job Search after a Long Tenure and a Recent Separation from Your Employer

Even though you feel a certain amount of stress by being unemployed, you have dusted off your dreams and determined now is a good a time to make a career transition.  Is there a credential you will need in order to make a transition? Are there classes you need to take?  Is there experience you can gain through an internship or a volunteer position?  Be resourceful about finding ways to keep afloat by taking an interim position or positions that give you both the flexibility and the income you need in order to turn your dream into a reality.

Early Career or Reentering the Workforce

Perhaps you are an early career individual ready to get started or you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, how do you go about securing a desired position that may not align with your skills and experience?  You may want to consider taking a course or two that relates to your goals.  Consider a local community college, an on-line course, or even a free massive open on-line course, like the ones offered by  Volunteering will also help you obtain related experience and some insight into your desired career.  At the same time, you will be gaining valuable experience for your resume and some helpful contacts for your network.

Parting Tips

Follow your dream.  Actively do something each day to bring yourself closer to accomplishing your career transition.  It can be a big step or a small step.  The important aspect is to keep yourself steadily moving forward in eager anticipation.

Establish a small nucleus of trusted friends that you communicate with on a regular basis to give you encouragement along the way and who will help to keep you accountable.